I love sewing--any form of needle and thread makes me happy.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween and Hong Kong Seams

Just a little preview of my current project-- for fall. 

Hong Kong seams.  It's ever so tedious but definitely worth it.  The insides look so nice.  So coming soon.,,,Simplicity 3506.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Summer's Last Sigh: Butterick 5185 and Simplicity 8053

The calendar may say fall, and the leaves may finally be beginning to say fall, but the temps around here are still fairly warm.  I don't feel too bad doing this last blog post about summer tops since I'm still wearing them. 

First up is Butterick 5185, view C ; now out of print.

This is a pullover V-neck top with a twist feature at the waist, falling into a split skirt.  I made it shorter like in view A and B though.  I cut a size 18, which fits me snugly but not tightly.  My husband really likes this one. 

The fabric came from Fabric.com and is a cotton jersey knit.  It has a lot of give to it, so my topstitching is not the best despite using a walking foot.  Only another seamstress would notice it, though, it's just a little wobbly looking in some places. 

I made this top once before and the fit was much looser, and the skirt really annoyed me.  With this top, it's really cute. Just the right length, skims over the hips and hangs nicely over the fluffy tummy parts.  The twist makes it very slimming with the gathers.  (The instructions make the twist very easy to do.)  This was planned as part of a wardrobe project earlier this year that did not get completed.

The second top is Simplicity 8053, View B, the sleeveless, top with collar and contrasting bottom section.

I loved this pattern when in came out, it's just so cute and screams  "Summer Top."  Then to find that I already had two very workable fabrics in my stash made this project ready-to-go.  Both fabrics are cottons that have been in the stash so long their origins are long since forgotten. 

I cut a straight size 18. I meant to cut a 20 at the hip, but got interrupted during the process and forgot.  It still fits nicely though, even over bulky jeans.  I love the princess seams and the little faux pocket flaps are just cute as can be.

The collar is one piece, no stand. It sits so nicely though in the firmer cotton on top that it looks like a two-piece collar instead.

I used the dark purple for the bias binding on the armscyes, and even that went in easily.  Cotton is such a pleasure to work with.  I find it so cooperative and doesn't usually need special treatment like so many other fabrics I play with.  

I went from having almost no summer tops this season to having several that I really enjoy wearing.  I should be set to at least begin the season next year well stocked.  One always needs to update though. :)

Next up is fall sewing.  I really have begun.  I'm all excited about my last project and can't wait to share and wear , Butterick 5680.  Hopefully we'll get some cooler days soon as I've started on my next project:  the first of the jackets for fall.

Happy sewing! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Favorite Shirt---Butterick 6026

I know it's fall, but I'm still wrapping up summer sewing posts.  One more post and then I'll be all caught up and can launch the autumn sewing I've been doing.   This shirt has been my all-time favorite from the moment it got off the machine.  As soon as I saw Butterick 6026 it was love.  All those wonderful pintucks giving interest at the face and shaping at the waist!

I don't usually care for the Katherine or Marci Tilton aesthetic but this pattern really called out to me.   I didn't sew it up until just recently.  There were other things in the way.   Other projects...

Alright, I admit it.  Those very same pintucks I loved were intimidating.  They were so big and obvious.  What if I messed them up?  I shouldn't have feared so.  The pattern is rated as easy and I used the seam gauge foot that came with my new machine.

Those pintucks were easy peasy and came out great if I say so myself.  I love how these at the collar help frame the face.

I cut a size 18 at the neck and bust then a size 20 at the hip.  A lightweight denim from Joann's was used.  It's very soft and pliant.  (It needs a good pressing in the photos because I'd been wearing it but can never get a photographer!)  The only question I had with the instructions is where they want the sewer to invisible stitch the front facing.  What?  So  I just folded over the facing and pressed like I've done with other shirts.   The buttons and buttonholes anchor it closed.

Don't you love how it curves and gives you a waist?  This shirt is so comfortable I wear it all the time.  It just gets softer and more comfortable with the washing as denim does.  So far no fading.  The fit is perfect at the bust and hip.   I will definitely be making this again  in the long-sleeved version.  Then I'd have a perfect winter and summer top.  Swoon!

Happy Sewing! 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fabric Stash

I just inventoried my fabric and goodness gracious!  It's grown!  How did this happen?  I was supposed to be on a fabric fast.  But then there were all those wonderful sales of wonderful fabric.  I have such plans for it all, too!  Almost all of it was purchased with a plan.  It's not going to languish long.  The last two months I've been heinously bad.  But Christmas is coming up so I'm motivated to be good now.  No more buying and must really sew these projects up. 

Lord knows I have enough patterns to choose from....I inventoried those too.   There is a plan.  I'm in the middle of sewing a top now.  Next up is an apron for youngest daughter as a housewarming gift.  Then, it's jacket time.  I have plans for 3 jackets and two of them are some of my bulkiest fabric recently acquired.  If I can get these items knocked out it will be accomplishing quite a bit.

Fabric stash.  I don't want it to go away.  It inspires me.  It comforts me.  It's like my books--I like knowing its there.  It's not as big as many people have but I have limited space to store it and it's exceeding that space at present.  It also makes me feel a little wasteful and hoarding having so much.  So I just need to sew up some of it to regain my comfort zone.

Maybe its time to do those curtains, too.  That's a lot of yardage....

What about you?  Do you have a stash and how do you feel about it?  Happy sewing!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Vogues, My Picks

It's a cool, rainy fall day here on Bittersweet Lane.  I'm so excited that fall has finally arrived.  Just 4 days ago the temps were in the 90s but those seem to be behind us now according to the weather man.  In a way it's a shame because I just finished a top (Vogue 8078)  I need to show that's definitely a summer top but I guess it will wait for next spring for more wear.

On to fall though and the new Vogue patterns!  This is a rather small release I thought and I didn't find much that excited me. 

Vogue 1527
This one is a Paco Peralta design featuring a beautiful coat, tie blouse and skirt.  The coat is gorgeous, but the skirt is what I would sew from this pattern.

Vogue 9227
I love this collection of knit tops.  I plan on purchasing this pattern for sure but can't decide which view I like the most they're all so cute.

Vogue 1525

I can't make up my mind yet if I really like this one or hate this one.  I do hate the pants,  They just hang.  On me they'd look like balloon drawers.   But the top has interesting stitching lines that give it shape and drape.  So it's a real possibility.  I'll check it out as others make it and see what it looks like on a real person.

The rest of the collection just didn't appeal to me or fit in my lifestyle.  Would that I had a place to wear some of those more glamourous outfits. 

What appealed to you and what's on your must sew list?  Happy sewing plans!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vogue 8817, The Textured Top

I have had a picture of a multi-textured top on my inspiration board for over a year.  It's a white top with multiple sections and each section is a different texture of the same white.  Love it.  Want it.  Must make it mine.  Vogue 8817 view B looked like it would give me what I envisioned.

I set about finding appropriate fabrics and finally found them in an ivory colorway. 

The knit jacquard is from Fabric Mart--it was a dream to sew with.  The jersey knit--almost too thin to use--and the lace were from Fashion Fabrics Club.  I used the jacquard on the bodice and main back panel.  The lace was used on the sleeves, stomach panel and upper back panel.  The jersey was used for the side panels, and underneath the lace on the stomach and back panels. 

I cut this as a size 18 and it was huge!  I ended up raising it at the shoulders, bringing up the neckline and armholes.  I also had to take in quite a bit at the princess seams on both front and back.  By the
time I got done sewing and re-sewing this top, I'd make it twice! 

  If I ever do make it again, I'll go down to a size 16 and raise the neckline.  It sits rather low for my taste and age.  It was a booger bear to make, but I love it dearly now.  It fits nicely and is just what I envisioned.  I can now take that inspiration picture down from the board.

Do you have an inspiration board in your sewing area?  And do you move out the accomplished for a new dream once you create it?  Happy sewing and chasing the dream!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Simplicity 1698--The Geometric Skirt.

Simplicity 1698 is one of those simple wardrobe patterns.  It features a top, jacket and  two styles of long skirts.  I made the tulip skirt.  Actually, this is the second time I've made this skirt.

I cut a size 18 plus an extra 1/2 inch at the waist and hip since I'm a little larger this time around.  I also shortened it an inch.  This is such a quick sew!  Just 2 front pieces and 1 back piece and you're done except for the rather extensive hemming.  The first time I made it from a very stretchy ITY and lettuce-edged the hem and it came out great.  This time though I hemmed it all and serged the seams.

I used an ITY knit from Fabric Mart in a geometric design featuring brown, red, yellow, orange and cream.  When I bought it I thought top, but when I got it I saw the brown ran in vertical stripes so I decided skirt but wanted some shape to it, too.  Simplicity 1698 filled the bill.  With it's elastic waist its super comfy to wear, too. Always a consideration at my age--I don't have to be uncomfortable for fashion anymore.   I figure with it's color scheme it should take me through summer and well into fall.  (Maybe winter, too, with boots.)   It's pictured here with Vogue 8817, soon to be blogged. 

 Speaking of fall, Happy Fall, y'all and happy sewing!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Vogue 9176--The Pleated Jacket

I know its been a long time since I've blogged but at least I've been busy with sewing.  I'll try to catch you up on my projects over the two weeks.  It is National Sewing Month after all.

First up is Vogue 9176, the pleated jacket in the bottom right hand corner; view A.
It's a loose-fitting, unlined jacket with self facings on the front, a yoke across the back shoulders with lovely pleats draping from the yoke in back.  I just fell in love with this pattern and purchased it right away when it came out.  Those pleats were love at first sight. Then I saw the recommended fabrics and got a little intimated: chiffon or georgette for the back panel. I've not sewn with these delicate, sheer, slippery fabrics.  Especially with pleats.  So, it sat. 

Then one day, Fabric Mart had a sale on some ivory blouse-weight polyester georgette.  It was a sign that the jackets time had come.   I decided to use the georgette for the body of the jacket and then found some matching chiffon for the back and sleeves.  The vision was coming to life.

The georgette was actually not too difficult to use.  It just required good pinning and careful stitching.  No speeding here.  French seams were used since it was still rather sheer.

 I was really afraid of the pleats, especially with the slippery chiffon.  But I worried needlessly.  The pleats were marked carefully, pinned well and sewn s-l-o-w-l-y.  I think they came out very well.

After wearing it, I find the sleeves are a tad tight.  I cut a size 18 and usually Vogues run large on me, but this one could do with a little more wiggle room in the shoulders as well.  Does that stop me from wearing?  Hell, no.  I worked hard on the jacket and it's not so snug that it stresses the seams. 

I also purchased enough of the georgette for a matching tank top, but that project tanked!  I made it on the old Burdette while I was waiting for the new Brother to arrive.  I should have waited, however the project would still have been an epic fail just not a sloppy looking one.  I used Simplicity 2599

without any embellishment.  It came out HUGE and just wonky looking.  So I scrapped it and happened to find a satin tank while thrifting that looks fabulous with the jacket.  It's in the pictures. I think the satin adds to the play of textures in the jacket.

Next up, another ivory color project, a top!  Happy sewing til then!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lest We Forget....

While you're enjoying your summer festivities, please take a moment to remember the reason for this holiday.  Thank you to all who have served. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Out With The Old And In With The New

My beloved Brother cs6000I finally bit the dust after more than 12 years of faithful service.   I accidentally broke her cleaning her as I had seen someone do on the Internet.  Lesson learned--don't do everything you see there. I was going to cost $89 just to have someone look at her.  She only cost me $145 to begin with.  It didn't seem worth it to get her fixed when it probably going to cost more than her initial outlay. Luckily I had my ancient Bernette 330 as backup. 

She's over 25 years old and cranky as hell.  Her gears slip, so half the time I have to turn her wheel manually to get her started.  She then rattles and makes a fierce amount of protesting noise at being bothered at her age.  (She really believes in retirement despite being serviced last year.)  She has a 4-step button hole too; and I'm oh so spoiled to my 1-step button button holes.  A new machine was a must--and soon.

I was partial to getting another Brother because I was so familiar with it, has so many feet for it already and because the cs6000 had been so faithful and true. I could also get an awful lot of bells and whistles for my buck.  I also looked at Janome though because they had several machines in my price range as well.  That lead me to an email from Babylock advertising their introductory line in my budget range but they just didn't have all the features I was hoping to get. A thread on Pattern Review got me to thinking about E-bay as getting a higher end used model.  I did look and even bid a few times.  I was outbid and decided I really wanted new from someone I could trust. 

I began to eye the Brother pc420prw.  It certainly had a lot of bang for the buck.  But once I got all my pennies together, and cashed in some vacation time I found I could afford the Brother Laura Ashley pc660la.

She's loaded with features and stitches.  I placed my order and within 3 days she was sitting in the sewing room.  Looking big and beautiful and yes, intimidating.  Could I really learn to use something so complicated, much less to its full potential? 

Her owners manual is a book--written well with many illustrations making it easy to follow. It also has instructions on how to sew basic things like zippers and elastic using her feet and function buttons. She came with so many feet! Her LCD screen does prompt you on foot selection, stitch size, and thread tension (that's changeable with a button!).  After an initial bonding period, I'm happy to report that I have mastered at least the basic functions and can sew successfully.  I've reviewed all her stitches functions.  They're quite easy to enter and change and even link together--like letters to form a word.   There are a lot of embroidery stitches to choose from as well. She has mirror imaging and you can even create your own stitches.  What's really amazing to me is she can sew sideways! Wow!

I've still got a lot to learn but its definitely a machine I can grow into and not get bored with.  (Yes that hole on the front is for a knee lift. Something else I'm getting used to.)  I look forward to many happy sewing days with her. 

Happy sewing all.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My New Favorite T-Shirt, McCall's 6964

I've tried making T-shirts in the past.  There were always problems:  too short, neckline fits funny, or most often, sleeves too short.  All that has changed with this pattern.  McCall's 6964 is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern so you know there's going to be lots of fitting advice in there. 

I made the long-sleeved view D with a little bit of modifications.

First, I used the knit mesh from Fabric Mart over the entire top, not just the front.  Due to its sheerness, I used a solid blue ITY knit, also from Fabric Mart for the underlay on the front and back bodice pieces leaving the sleeves sheer.  I simply sewed the ITY/mesh pieces as one unit.  I also did a ½ inch forward shoulder adjustment.  I cut a size 16 neck and bust and graded to an 18 waist and
 hip (my pattern only went to a size 16).  The only other change I made was to shorten it by about 3 inches, it was very long on me.

This top is so stinking comfortable!  And perfect for our spring with its variable temps.  I love wearing it.

It's shown here with the tan slacks I made for the Wardrobe Contest (Vogue 8157) as this was intended to be part of my entry.  Oh well, have a great top I love wearing and it looks really great with jeans.  I enjoyed working with the knit mesh so much and enjoy wearing it so much I ordered some more and have it cut out already for another one of these. 

Hope your spring sewing is going well.  Happy sewing all.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Denim Slacks-- Vogue 8157

Vogue 8157 is on out of print oldie but goodie.  This is part of the Spring Wardrobe.  I got 8 pieces done before the deadline then stalled out on a dress.  Still working on the dress.  But back to the pants. 

I love the wide contour waistband that wraps around part of the waist.  It's an easy pattern as well. 

I used a denim with lycra blend from Denver Fabrics that's been in the stash for years.  It's a medium weight with good recovery but wasn't so thick that there was any difficulty in sewing over seams.  No topstitching was involved and I serged all the seams. Very easy peasy.

Encouraged by the fit of the last pair of pants, I cut a size 18 again.  I did do a full thigh adjustment but in hindsight and pictures, I see that this was probably not necessary as these slacks are not very snug.  The mock-fly construction is odd, but I finally figured out something out that worked. 

Not as many wrinkles in the back with this pair as with last pair and a good fit in the seat. Maybe that full thigh adjustment worked after all.   These are so comfortable to wear.   The top is McCall's 6964.  Review coming soon.   Happy sewing all.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Denim Skirt--Simplicity 4701

This is item #6 for the Spring Wardrobe Contest.  I'm trucking right along.  At this rate I may possibly finish as I have finished  7 as well but have yet to blog it.  This is a remarkable pace for me.  Usually I binge sew on the weekends and on days off, but I've been working a lot of 2nd shifts, so I've gotten a couple of hours in the morning in as well. I don't get to see much of Hubs that way but I am getting a lot of sewing done. 

Back to the skirt.  This is Simplicity 4701, now out of print. I made view F, the little red skirt on the cover. I've made this skirt so many times; each in a different size.  I just love it. 

I've made this skirt twice before in different sizes, so apparently I can't live without it.  It's just so easy to wear and such a basic item.  This times it's in a size 18 made from a denim/lycra blend from Denver fabrics.   The instructions are pretty straightforward but not in an easy order: they hop back and forth to the pants.  Example for the pockets: see steps 2-9 of pants.  


I only made two changes to the pattern.  I omitted the back patch pockets, I don't need anymore junk in my trunk, and I made the closure a button instead of hook, just personal preference. I serged and topstitched the seams for a faux flatfell seam like the directions say.  Just didn't feel like messing with the flatfell foot that day.

I just love my new skirt and I off to try to finish Item # 8, another top. Happy sewing.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Butterick 5429-- The Twist Top

the next item in the Spring Wardrobe Capsule is Butterick 5429. I believe this is out of print now.


I made the short-sleeved twist top.  The neat thing about this twist top is that the twist is above the bust, not at the waist or bust as is usual.  This sounds like it would cause a heavy neckline and gaping, but it doesn't.  In the lightweight ITY knit I used (from Fabric.com), it hugs nicely against the chest and doesn't fly open.

When I read the reviews on Pattern Review, they all said it ran huge.  My pattern only went down to a size 16, so I graded down to a size 14.  The instructions were really easy; the twist was the easiest one I've ever seen.  The pictures made it so clear. It went together nice and easy and quickly.  I can see making another of these. It comes in a long sleeve, too.   More coming soon.  Happy sewing.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring Wardrobe Continues

The work on the Pattern Review Spring Wardrobe Capsule continues.  I finally got a good photo-session in with Hubs so I'll be able to get a few entries in. 

First up, McCalls 7254 a really great little cardigan.  I love the shawl collar and how it folds and flares out into the peplum.  I used a dark taupey-brown ponte de roma knit from Fabric.com but can see this in a bulkier sweater knit as well. 

It stitched up so quick and easy; I wasn't expecting that.  It's the perfect thing for these cool spring days when you need to layer on and off.  I'm already getting a lot of use out of it and am looking forward to making another of these.

Next is Butterick 6065, the shaped shell top.  I never really noticed this pattern until I saw Faye's at Faye's Sewing Adventure  blog.  She's made several of these and they're all so cute.  She's so right, with only 3 pieces, what's not to love? I used an ITY knit from Fabric Mart and after reading about it on Pattern Review tried a Teflon foot to keep the knit under control.  Worked wonderfully!  I'll be using it all the time with knits now.   

I don't like the look of folded and hemmed necklines, so I made some binding for the neck and armholes.  Then, after reading about it on Pinterest, I decided to try Wash Away Wonder Tape.  I tried some of it and Steam-a-Seam 2 (¼ inch) on opposites ends of a scrap.  For this material, I preferred the Steam-a-Seam: it gave a smoother, lighter hem. 

The pants are an oldie but a goodie, Vogue 7301

I haven't made pants in years and now I'm all fluffy again so I guess I'm a little crazy for planning on 2 pairs for my wardrobe capsule.  I had made these years ago when I was a new sewer and fearless in my lack of knowledge and determination.  I had made a few changes to the pattern last time when I was about this size so thought it was a good launching point. 

I raised the center front ½ inch, raised the center back ½ inch and did a full thigh adjustment of about ½ inch also.  I cut a size 18, serged the edges of the pattern pieces and pressed them open at the seams.  

The fly instructions were awesome--clear, well-illustrated, step-by-step.  Made it so easy.  Looking at the photos, it looks like I could do with some kind of wedge alteration at the crotch and a little more room in the backseat.   I seriously need to trace this pattern--it's so faded I can hardly see the print or marking on the pieces and its definitely a keeper! 

So there we have it--Pieces 2, 3, and 4 of the Spring Wardrobe with more to come!  Happy sewing!